Director-General  QU Dongyu
A statement by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu


Launch of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2022 Report:

“Repurposing food and agricultural policies to make healthy diets more affordable”



Dr QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General

As delivered

6 July 2022



Ladies and Gentlemen,

1.         On behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and together with our partner agencies, I am pleased to present to you the 2022 edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) Report.

2.         Last year, when we launched this report, the COVID-19 pandemic had widely exposed the weaknesses of our agrifood systems,

3.         And the challenges to ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

4.         We made a call to build forward better and get on track towards achieving SDG2.

5.         A year later, it is clear we have not seized the opportunity.

6.         We had hoped that by today the world would have emerged from the COVID-19 crisis, but the pandemic is still around us,

7.         And is compounded by the war in Ukraine, and other top ten conflicts and humanitarian emergencies across the world.

Dear Colleagues,

8.         World hunger rose again in 2022, reflecting growing inequalities across and within countries.

9.         828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021. 

10.       This is an increase of 46 million from 2020,

11.       And 150 million more from 2019, before the COVID 19 pandemic.

12.       Food insecurity also increased in 2021, confirming that more people did not have access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food.

13.       Around 2.3 billion people in the world were moderately or severely food insecure in 2021 - this is 350 million more people compared to 2019.

14.       And it was the first time I participated in the launch of that report in 2019, together with Amina Mohammed. We did not expect that number to rise further.

15.       Food price inflation due to the economic impacts of the pandemic have left 112 million more people unable to afford a healthy diet – this means a total of 3.1 billion people worldwide.

16.       If we project these numbers to 2030, we can clearly see that we are off-track to meet SDG2.

17.       This must be our wake-up call! Our emergency call!

Dear Colleagues,

18.       We must not only be worried about the recent setbacks in progress towards SDG2, but about the current and future context as well.

19.       The ongoing war in Ukraine, together with other extended conflicts around the world, is further disrupting supply chains and pushing up the price of food, grain, fertilizer and energy, leading to shortages and high food price inflation.

20.       This coming Friday, the monthly FAO Food Price Index will be released, and the situation is still very challenging and daunting.

21.       Furthermore, more frequent and extreme climate events are disrupting supply chains, especially in low-income countries.

22.       We are fully aware that adversities will continue to occur.

23.       This is why we need to take bolder action to build resilience.

24.       Thanks to the President of ECOSOC provided FAO together with the other agencies with the opportunity to work together to increase resilience and build up economies.

25.       To do this, we need to urgently transform our agrifood systems to be more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable.

26.       Global economic growth prospects for 2022 have been revised downward significantly,

27.       Which means that less financial resources are available to invest in agrifood systems.

28.       I remember last year, under the Pakistani President, there was a call to increase investments in agriculture.

29.       We need to continue working to increase investments in this areas. We need bold action.

30.       But the SOFI report shows that governments can achieve more with the same public resources.

31.       Less developed countries need to do more because they have less resources – they need to be wise in using their limited resources.

32.       Worldwide, government support to the agrifood sector accounts for almost 630 billion US Dollars per year, which has contributed to food security.

33.       However, a large part of this support distorts market prices leading to inefficient allocation of resources, it is environmentally harmful, and does not benefit agrifood system actors equitably.

34.       This support has also been unequally advancing the production of cereals, while pulses, seeds, fruits, vegetables and other highly nutritious foods are less supported.

35.       We call for governments to replace policy measures that are insufficient, inefficient, unsustainable and inequitable, with measures that incentivize the production and consumption of nutritious foods, and make healthy diets more affordable.

36.       Governments must undertake this transformation, and the multilateral system must support it.

37.       We recognize that low-income countries where agriculture is key to the economy, jobs and rural livelihoods have little public resources to repurpose.

38.       FAO will work with these countries to explore opportunities for increasing the provision of public services that support all actors across agrifood systems, including through agricultural research and development and improved infrastructure.

39.       And through the FAO Hand-in-Hand Initiative we are supporting 53 countries, in an holistic manner.

40.       With increased international development finance, investing in these public services will help low-income countries bridge productivity gaps and increase the production of nutritious foods and people’s incomes.

41.       For better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life for all, leaving no one behind. 

Dear Colleagues,

42.       To achieve policy coherence, we need to work with more partners at global and national levels.

43.       We need to involve all stakeholders, and be aware of the political economy aspects and institutional settings necessary to enable reforms.

44.       Our organizations are firmly committed to continue working with governments, the private sector, civil society, academia, and all key players, including the UN agencies,

45.       And through the Hand-in-Hand Initiative.

46.       To maximize available resources to ensure access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food for all,

47.       And to eradicate all forms of malnutrition.

48.       Thank you.